How to Disagree Agreeably

by Rebecca Morgan, CSP, CMC on August 16, 2017

  • Your new co-worker is proposing a project that was tried before she arrived and failed.
  • Your boss suggests a direction you think will be a disaster.
  • Your lunch-mate is sharing a “fact” you know has been debunked.

Situations like these are commonplace. Someone says something you either know to be wrong or with which you disagree. How you respond determines how you will be perceived by them and others present, as well as how receptive they will be to hearing your point of view.

What you say next and how you say it set the tone.



Save Time by Modifying Your Conversational Style

by Rebecca Morgan, CSP, CMC on August 14, 2017

I’ve noticed a lot of people — maybe 90% — aren’t very conscious of their conversational habits. The most common habit I’ve noticed is no awareness of the relevance of what the speaker is saying to their conversational partner.

I began to wonder how much more productive we would be if we focused our comments on only those of importance to our listeners. Granted, we can’t always know what the other would find important, and sometimes, with close friends and family, we want to share something that is significant to us as a way of sharing ourselves, but may only be interesting to our loved one because they care about us.

But let’s focus on workplace conversations. Have you been caught in a conversation with a co-worker that has taken way more time than it needed because the co-worker rambled on and on? I’d be surprised if you said “no” as this is common. Imagine how much more you could both get done if the conversation stayed focused on salient information.

I recently had discussions with two doctors treating me and was astounded at how much time they wasted on irrelevant information. Doctors’ time is typically rationed carefully, often with only 15 minutes allotted per patient. So you’d think they would be hyperaware of their wasting time sharing info that has no bearing on that patient. But many of them are not.

One doctor had asked me to watch a video explaining a procedure she recommended. When we next talked, I began by saying I’d watched the video. She then spent 5 minutes telling me what was in the video. She didn’t ask if I had questions about the video; she just launched into explaining what I already knew, adding information that wasn’t relevant to my situation. She wasted 1/3 – 2/3 of our time on irrelevant information.

Another doctor spent 5 of our 15 minutes telling me the history of the drug she was prescribing, and it’s warnings for pregnant women. She could see by my chart that was not relevant to my situation, nor was it germane to understand the history of the meds. She could have used our time more wisely, or we could have ended early, which we both would have been happy about.

The key to being a time-conscious communicator is to give only enough information to be useful to your listener. A few sentences will usually suffice. You don’t want to be curt, but you also don’t want to ramble. If your listener needs more information, s/he will nearly always ask. Then you can elaborate.

So before going on and on and on, ask your listener if s/he has questions or wants more detail. My guess is most will be just fine with an overview.


Podcast interview available

by Rebecca Morgan, CSP, CMC on October 7, 2016

I am pleased to share Pete Mockaitis’ interview of me on his “How to Be Awesome at Your Job” show.


Do your staff have wisdom?

by Rebecca Morgan, CSP, CMC on March 23, 2016

I work closely with a tech company which isn’t a client. They have thousands of employees around the world. Their headquarters houses a few thousand.

Because I am a super-user of their site, I get asked to participate in special programs — some beta tests, some educating new, seasoned and prospective users. The few dozen staff with whom I’m worked are smart.

However, because these intelligent people don’t have a lot of work experience, I find they make decisions that aren’t wise. They don’t think through the repercussions on their users before enacting changes. They don’t decide actions based on long-term ramifications, nor on the message their decision sends about the company’s values.

I find they lack …


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Get Your Requests Granted More Often

by Rebecca Morgan, CSP, CMC on March 9, 2016

Most of us need to enlist others outside of our team to help accomplish some tasks. Since the others are not required to say yes, you must finesse how you ask. In fact, even if the person is on your team, s/he may not be obligated to help you if what you’re asking is outside his/her area of responsibility.

It’s important to build relationships before you need to ask for help. People are inclined to help others they like, respect and trust. So ensure you are treating everyone you encounter in the best possible way. If someone asks you for assistance and you are able to provide it easily, then help them out. While requests are never to be quid pro quo, it often helps someone say yes to you if you’ve helped them. But don’t expect it or make them feel badly if they can’t help you in return.

In asking, your timing, tone of voice and word choice are critical.


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Conversational Drifters

March 8, 2016

Tweet At a recent business meeting of 8 people, one participant was unaware that his ramblings were irritating others. He spoke aloud whatever crossed his mind – when he had the floor, he got a text and mentioned it was from his wife. He further explained that his was was upset about her boss and wanted his […]

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Are you fishing in a bathtub?

March 4, 2016

Tweet A pal was sharing how frustrated he was in getting his non-profit idea off the ground. He has decided his solution was to convince a big tech company to fund it. He mentioned various ones he knew had big bucks, but I knew his idea was not aligned with what their foundations funded. He was staunch […]

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Honored to be featured in Manila publications

March 2, 2016

Tweet I was honored to be featured in the press coverage of our Together We Can Change the World’s Global Leadership Boot Camp last month. In addition to the fabulous piece in the Asian Journal, I was also featured in the publications below, plus The Standard, Malaya and at and Manila Bulletin Online. Business Inquirer […]

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Lessons from embracing my inner mermaid

February 19, 2016

Tweet If we have any imagination, we’ve been curious what it would be like to live someone else’s life if only for a day. I’ve sometimes pondered how I might like being an actor, lawyer, airline pilot, teacher, cruise director, dancer, film director or any dozen other professions. As I teenager I loved acting as […]

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Successful Leadership Boot Camp in Manila

February 11, 2016

Tweet Ten colleagues and I spoke at the Global Leadership Boot Camp in Manila on Jan. 30. We were all part of the Together We Can Change the World tour (more on our activities in another post). This reporter from the Asian Journal did a great job capturing the essence of three of our presentations.

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